In a series of interviews lined up at Hubspot Inbound ’13, we scored this awesome chat with the amazing Aussie, Paull Young of charity: water.

Serving as the Director of Digital for the non-profit organization, Paull and his incredible team work to bring safe drinking water to people in developing nations and they use powerful video assets to drive their campaigns.

The charity: water video libraryUnlike some organizations, charity: water isn’t after your wallet for a one-time donation. They want you to get fired up, feel passionately connected to their cause, and ultimately they want you to take action and start a fundraising campaign of your own. charity: water wants your time and heartfelt energy and this requires a heavy dose of inspiration.

Today’s modern marketers are looking to tell better, more compelling stories, and there’s an even greater need for amazing storytelling when fundraising for a non-profit. As Paull tells us, their organization has learned that the key to a good fundraising campaign is to get people inspired and there’s no better medium for this than video. Paull reinforces that you can use photos to motivate, but they’re typically not going to get folks fired up enough to get their friends and family involved, and a text piece has to be really good to get the same effect as an emotionally charged video. You can tell a story in person, says Paull, but a large organization needs something scalable.

charity: water and Their Video Strategy

While charity: water has an impressive video library on a dedicated part of their website, Paull insists it’s less about volume and more about producing a few high-quality videos per year, then working to get the most out of these assets through various channels.

The team at charity: water are using video to drive an important cause, and they’re using the medium perfectly to construct a powerful message. Here’s a few examples from the charity: water video collection that I think are especially great.

charity: water’s Year in Review:

Water Changes Everything:

What B2B Marketers can Learn From charity: water

When it comes down to your video strategy, you can incorporate some of the techniques that make charity: water’s videos so successful; here’s my list of tips:

  1. Identify the emotion you want to elicit: To drive a powerful message, try to find the why behind what your company does and market that instead of the products and services you offer. This works well for top-of-funnel videos where an inspiring message is what will attract people to your brand initially. If you’re selling marketing automation software, reach beyond the platform and find the emotion your users will find compelling. Maybe it’s relief from feeling overwhelmed? Maybe they need a feeling of security? Find the pain point, then target an emotion.
  2. Arrange footage in a sequence that conveys these target emotions: The order in which you present information and your overall message matters. When you juxtapose contrasting images, you can guide your viewer’s emotional response in a certain direction. Look for opportunities within your content to control the overall vibe and direct a psychological experience.
  3. Use music to amp up the emotional effect: charity: water’s year in review video does a great job of using toe-tappin’ foreground music to excite the audience. The purpose of the video is to showcase their achievements throughout the year and there’s a celebratory feel throughout. Once you find the emotion you want to convey, go on a search to find the best music for your video.
  4. Create a striking visual aesthetic: The charity: water videos look really professional, and while a lot of people make the case for high volume, low-resolution releases to quickly fill up your video content library, your videos can have a rich appeal if you invest in professional equipment, or even if you adopt certain tricks to enhance the look of your footage. A professional look can make a difference in whether your videos hold your audience’s attention and, although not all of your videos will need a pro look to them, it can certainly add to the assets impact and shareability factor.
  5. Leverage your distribution channels: After you release your video on YouTube, make the most of your content by releasing content on social channels, on your website, within blog posts, on affiliate blogs or media channels, and include video assets within email nurturing campaigns. Distributing videos beyond YouTube alone ensures you’re getting the most out of the assets you create.

What other aspects of the charity: water videos appeal to you? What could you carry over into B2B videos? Let me know about some of the techniques you use to encourage action within your videos and start the discussion below.

Jennifer Pepper